Oosthuizen eyes Masters spot
South African Louis Oosthuizen has given himself another chance to win his first European Tour title – and a place in The Masters.
South African Louis Oosthuizen has given himself yet another chance to win his first European Tour title – and with it a place in The Masters.
Runner-up to Welshman Rhys Davies in Morocco last week after leading by three with 15 holes to play, Oosthuizen takes a one-shot advantage over England’s Robert Coles into the final day of the Andalucian Open in Malaga.
Only a victory will probably do for the 27-year-old in his bid for a second successive trip to Augusta and a four under par 66 kept him on course.
Oosthuizen, four times second on the circuit but five times a winner in his home country, now stands 14 under and said: “My putting has not let me down, but I’m not happy with how I hit a few irons shots.
“It’s a low-scoring course, but the thing is you can try and attack it too much and make stupid bogeys. I made a few today.”
Coles, a 37-year-old West Ham fan from Essex, has been on and off the Tour since his debut in 1995, making 10 trips to the qualifying school and never finishing higher than third in an event.
His 63 was his lowest round in 267 tournaments and lifted him from ninth to second while fellow Englishman Sam Hutsby, the joint overnight leader, dropped back to joint fifth on 10 under with a level par 70.
Coles lost his father in January, but with wife Sinead expecting their second child shortly he is enjoying being back on Tour.
His last full season was 2006, but after failing on his last three visits to the qualifying school he graduated from the Challenge Tour at the end of last year.
“There have been lots of times when I thought I might not have another chance,” he said.
“I had three years on the Challenge Tour and each time I thought, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’, but getting my card back justifies the effort.”
He started for home with five successive birdies to climb into the hunt, chipped in to stay par at the 16th and finished with another birdie. Having holed from off the green at the 11th as well, his round contained a mere 20 putts.
The former Petticoat Lane market stall worker would be a surprise winner, but not as much as the player in third place.
Spaniard Gabriel Canizares, who on Friday had the first albatross of the Tour season, is only two behind on 12 under following a 65.
He is the son of former Ryder Cup player Jose Maria, but stands 1,362nd in the world – joint last with no points to his name – and does not even have a Tour card at the moment.
Hutsby, a 21-year-old rookie from Hampshire, had a ding-dong battle with Oosthuizen over the first 10 holes, making up for three bogeys with five birdies to remain joint leader.
But he played the last eight holes in two over compared to the South African’s two under.
That left fellow Englishman Richard Finch in fourth on 11 under and Hutsby one further back alongside Scot Peter Whiteford and Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen.
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